1/15/08

AFSCME singled out for dues hit

The DeKalb (IL) City Council on Monday announced the city faces a $500,000 deficit from the 2007 fiscal year and that layoffs are imminent as a result.

City employees packed council chambers at the meeting. Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) showed up in response to the announcement of impending layoffs throughout the ranks of municipal workers.

City manager Mark Biernacki issued a news release Monday stating the city will cut 10 to 20 jobs due to ongoing deficit worries for DeKalb. Biernacki said DeKalb faced a half-million dollar deficit for the 2007 fiscal year, and this number is expected to grow during fiscal year 2008.

Biernacki said the city is looking at the number of personnel who may be retiring or resigning within the next six months, at which point the positions would be eliminated through attrition.

After any retirements, the city will look for additional jobs to cut to meet the 20-job goal.

Mike Taylor, president of the AFSCME Local 813, spoke to the city council on behalf of union members.

“We have never been asked or included,” said Taylor, noting that budget issues were brought up as far back as December 2007, but no union members were approached to work out a solution to avoid job cuts.

The city gave a 45-day notice to union members Thursday, and Taylor expects to meet with city officials over the next month.

He said job cuts would create service issues for DeKalb residents, with longer wait times for services, such as snow removal and fewer people to take calls from residents in a timely manner.

Taylor said if the proposed layoffs are carried forward, council members will be answering for shortfalls in city services.

The only areas that will not face possible layoffs are police and fire departments, Biernacki said.

(northernstar.info)

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